Part 2 out of 6
its owner. In the meantime we'll take good care of it. Our
steward has sort of adopted it, so it will be in good hands."
"Seems we don't either of us get the dog," Daughtry commented
resignedly, when Captain Duncan had explained the situation.
But when Daughtry turned his back and started off along the deck,
his constitutional obstinacy tightened his brows so that the
Shortlands planter, observing it, wondered what the captain had
been rowing him about.
Despite his six quarts a day and all his easy-goingness of
disposition, Dag Daughtry possessed certain integrities. Though
he could steal a dog, or a cat, without a twinge of conscience, he
could not but be faithful to his salt, being so made. He could
not draw wages for being a ship steward without faithfully
performing the functions of ship steward. Though his mind was
firmly made up, during the several days of the Makambo in Sydney,
lying alongside the Burns Philp Dock, he saw to every detail of
the cleaning up after the last crowd of outgoing passengers, and
to every detail of preparation for the next crowd of incoming
passengers who had tickets bought for the passage far away to the
coral seas and the cannibal isles.
In the midst of this devotion to his duty, he took a night off and
part of two afternoons. The night off was devoted to the public-
houses which sailors frequent, and where can be learned the latest
gossip and news of ships and of men who sail upon the sea. Such
information did he gather, over many bottles of beer, that the
next afternoon, hiring a small launch at a cost of ten shillings,
he journeyed up the harbour to Jackson Bay, where lay the lofty-
poled, sweet-lined, three-topmast American schooner, the Mary
Once on board, explaining his errand, he was taken below into the
main cabin, where he interviewed, and was interviewed by, a
quartette of men whom Daughtry qualified to himself as "a rum
It was because he had talked long with the steward who had left
the ship, that Dag Daughtry recognized and identified each of the
four men. That, surely, was the "Ancient Mariner," sitting back
and apart with washed eyes of such palest blue that they seemed a
faded white. Long thin wisps of silvery, unkempt hair framed his
face like an aureole. He was slender to emaciation, cavernously
checked, roll after roll of skin, no longer encasing flesh or
muscle, hanging grotesquely down his neck and swathing the Adam's
apple so that only occasionally, with queer swallowing motions,
did it peep out of the mummy-wrappings of skin and sink back again
A proper ancient mariner, thought Daughtry. Might be seventy-
five, might just as well be a hundred and five, or a hundred and
Beginning at the right temple, a ghastly scar split the cheek-
bone, sank into the depths of the hollow cheek, notched across the
lower jaw, and plunged to disappearance among the prodigious skin-
folds of the neck. The withered lobes of both ears were
perforated by tiny gypsy-like circles of gold. On the skeleton
fingers of his right hand were no less than five rings--not men's
rings, nor women's, but foppish rings--"that would fetch a price,"
Daughtry adjudged. On the left hand were no rings, for there were
no fingers to wear them. Only was there a thumb; and, for that
matter, most of the hand was missing as well, as if it had been
cut off by the same slicing edge that had cleaved him from temple
to jaw and heaven alone knew how far down that skin-draped neck.
The Ancient Mariner's washed eyes seemed to bore right through
Daughtry (or at least so Daughtry felt), and rendered him so
uncomfortable as to make him casually step to the side for the
matter of a yard. This was possible, because, a servant seeking a
servant's billet, he was expected to stand and face the four
seated ones as if they were judges on the bench and he the felon
in the dock. Nevertheless, the gaze of the ancient one pursued
him, until, studying it more closely, he decided that it did not
reach to him at all. He got the impression that those washed pale
eyes were filmed with dreams, and that the intelligence, the
THING, that dwelt within the skull, fluttered and beat against the
dream-films and no farther.
"How much would you expect?" the captain was asking,--a most
unsealike captain, in Daughtry's opinion; rather, a spick-and-
span, brisk little business-man or floor-walker just out of a
"He shall not share," spoke up another of the four, huge, raw-
boned, middle-aged, whom Daughtry identified by his ham-like hands
as the California wheat-farmer described by the departed steward.
"Plenty for all," the Ancient Mariner startled Daughtry by
cackling shrilly. "Oodles and oodles of it, my gentlemen, in cask
and chest, in cask and chest, a fathom under the sand."
"Share--WHAT, sir?" Daughtry queried, though well he knew, the
other steward having cursed to him the day he sailed from San
Francisco on a blind lay instead of straight wages. "Not that it
matters, sir," he hastened to add. "I spent a whalin' voyage
once, three years of it, an' paid off with a dollar. Wages for
mine, an' sixty gold a month, seein' there's only four of you."
"And a mate," the captain added.
"And a mate," Daughtry repeated. "Very good, sir. An' no share."
"But yourself?" spoke up the fourth man, a huge-bulking, colossal-
bodied, greasy-seeming grossness of flesh--the Armenian Jew and
San Francisco pawnbroker the previous steward had warned Daughtry
about. "Have you papers--letters of recommendation, the documents
you receive when you are paid off before the shipping
"I might ask, sir," Dag Daughtry brazened it, "for your own
papers. This ain't no regular cargo-carrier or passenger-carrier,
no more than you gentlemen are a regular company of ship-owners,
with regular offices, doin' business in a regular way. How do I
know if you own the ship even, or that the charter ain't busted
long ago, or that you're being libelled ashore right now, or that
you won't dump me on any old beach anywheres without a soo-markee
of what's comin' to me? Howsoever"--he anticipated by a bluff of
his own the show of wrath from the Jew that he knew would be wind
and bluff--"howsoever, here's my papers . . . "
With a swift dip of his hand into his inside coat-pocket he
scattered out in a wealth of profusion on the cabin table all the
papers, sealed and stamped, that he had collected in forty-five
years of voyaging, the latest date of which was five years back.
"I don't ask your papers," he went on. "What I ask is, cash
payment in full the first of each month, sixty dollars a month
"Oodles and oodles of it, gold and gold and better than gold, in
cask and chest, in cask and chest, a fathom under the sand," the
Ancient Mariner assured him in beneficent cackles. "Kings,
principalities and powers!--all of us, the least of us. And
plenty more, my gentlemen, plenty more. The latitude and
longitude are mine, and the bearings from the oak ribs on the
shoal to Lion's Head, and the cross-bearings from the points
unnamable, I only know. I only still live of all that brave, mad,
scallywag ship's company . . . "
"Will you sign the articles to that?" the Jew demanded, cutting in
on the ancient's maunderings.
"What port do you wind up the cruise in?" Daughtry asked.
"I'll sign the articles that I'm to sign off in San Francisco
The Jew, the captain, and the farmer nodded.
"But there's several other things to be agreed upon," Daughtry
continued. "In the first place, I want my six quarts a day. I'm
used to it, and I'm too old a stager to change my habits."
"Of spirits, I suppose?" the Jew asked sarcastically.
"No; of beer, good English beer. It must be understood
beforehand, no matter what long stretches we may be at sea, that a
sufficient supply is taken along."
"Anything else?" the captain queried.
"Yes, sir," Daughtry answered. "I got a dog that must come
"Anything else?--a wife or family maybe?" the farmer asked.
"No wife or family, sir. But I got a nigger, a perfectly good
nigger, that's got to come along. He can sign on for ten dollars
a month if he works for the ship all his time. But if he works
for me all the time, I'll let him sign on for two an' a half a
"Eighteen days in the longboat," the Ancient Mariner shrilled, to
Daughtry's startlement. "Eighteen days in the longboat, eighteen
days of scorching hell."
"My word," quoth Daughtry, "the old gentleman'd give one the
jumps. There'll sure have to be plenty of beer."
"Sea stewards put on some style, I must say," commented the wheat-
farmer, oblivious to the Ancient Mariner, who still declaimed of
the heat of the longboat.
"Suppose we don't see our way to signing on a steward who travels
in such style?" the Jew asked, mopping the inside of his collar-
band with a coloured silk handkerchief.
"Then you'll never know what a good steward you've missed, sir,"
Daughtry responded airily.
"I guess there's plenty more stewards on Sydney beach," the
captain said briskly. "And I guess I haven't forgotten old days,
when I hired them like so much dirt, yes, by Jinks, so much dirt,
there were so many of them."
"Thank you, Mr. Steward, for looking us up," the Jew took up the
idea with insulting oiliness. "We very much regret our inability
to meet your wishes in the matter--"
"And I saw it go under the sand, a fathom under the sand, on
cross-bearings unnamable, where the mangroves fade away, and the
coconuts grow, and the rise of land lifts from the beach to the
"Hold your horses," the wheat-farmer said, with a flare of
irritation, directed, not at the Ancient Mariner, but at the
captain and the Jew. "Who's putting up for this expedition?
Don't I get no say so? Ain't my opinion ever to be asked? I like
this steward. Strikes me he's the real goods. I notice he's as
polite as all get-out, and I can see he can take an order without
arguing. And he ain't no fool by a long shot."
"That's the very point, Grimshaw," the Jew answered soothingly.
"Considering the unusualness of our . . . of the expedition, we'd
be better served by a steward who is more of a fool. Another
point, which I'd esteem a real favour from you, is not to forget
that you haven't put a red copper more into this trip than I have-
"And where'd either of you be, if it wasn't for me with my
knowledge of the sea?" the captain demanded aggrievedly. "To say
nothing of the mortgage on my house and on the nicest little best
paying flat building in San Francisco since the earthquake."
"But who's still putting up?--all of you, I ask you." The wheat-
farmer leaned forward, resting the heels of his hands on his knees
so that the fingers hung down his long shins, in Daughtry's
appraisal, half-way to his feet. "You, Captain Doane, can't raise
another penny on your properties. My land still grows the wheat
that brings the ready. You, Simon Nishikanta, won't put up
another penny--yet your loan-shark offices are doing business at
the same old stands at God knows what per cent. to drunken
sailors. And you hang the expedition up here in this hole-in-the-
wall waiting for my agent to cable more wheat-money. Well, I
guess we'll just sign on this steward at sixty a month and all he
asks, or I'll just naturally quit you cold on the next fast
steamer to San Francisco."
He stood up abruptly, towering to such height that Daughtry looked
to see the crown of his head collide with the deck above.
"I'm sick and tired of you all, yes, I am," he continued. "Get
busy! Well, let's get busy. My money's coming. It'll be here by
to-morrow. Let's be ready to start by hiring a steward that is a
steward. I don't care if he brings two families along."
"I guess you're right, Grimshaw," Simon Nishikanta said
appeasingly. "The trip is beginning to get on all our nerves.
Forget it if I fly off the handle. Of course we'll take this
steward if you want him. I thought he was too stylish for you."
He turned to Daughtry.
"Naturally, the least said ashore about us the better."
"That's all right, sir. I can keep my mouth shut, though I might
as well tell you there's some pretty tales about you drifting
around the beach right now."
"The object of our expedition?" the Jew queried quickly.
"Is that why you want to come?" was demanded equally quickly.
Daughtry shook his head.
"As long as you give me my beer each day, sir, I ain't goin' to be
interested in your treasure-huntin'. It ain't no new tale to me.
The South Seas is populous with treasure-hunters--" Almost could
Daughtry have sworn that he had seen a flash of anxiety break
through the dream-films that bleared the Ancient Mariner's eyes.
"And I must say, sir," he went on easily, though saying what he
would not have said had it not been for what he was almost certain
he sensed of the ancient's anxiousness, "that the South Seas is
just naturally lousy with buried treasure. There's Keeling-Cocos,
millions 'n' millions of it, pounds sterling, I mean, waiting for
the lucky one with the right steer."
This time Daughtry could have sworn to having sensed a change
toward relief in the Ancient Mariner, whose eyes were again filmy
"But I ain't interested in treasure, sir," Daughtry concluded.
"It's beer I'm interested in. You can chase your treasure, an' I
don't care how long, just as long as I've got six quarts to open
each day. But I give you fair warning, sir, before I sign on: if
the beer dries up, I'm goin' to get interested in what you're
after. Fair play is my motto."
"Do you expect us to pay for your beer in addition?" Simon
To Daughtry it was too good to be true. Here, with the Jew
healing the breach with the wheat-farmer whose agents still cabled
money, was the time to take advantage.
"Sure, it's one of our agreements, sir. What time would it suit
you, sir, to-morrow afternoon, for me to sign on at the shipping
"Casks and chests of it, casks and chests of it, oodles and
oodles, a fathom under the sand," chattered the Ancient Mariner.
"You're all touched up under the roof," Daughtry grinned. "Which
ain't got nothing to do with me as long as you furnish the beer,
pay me due an' proper what's comin' to me the first of each an'
every month, an' pay me off final in San Francisco. As long as
you keep up your end, I'll sail with you to the Pit 'n' back an'
watch you sweatin' the casks 'n' chests out of the sand. What I
want is to sail with you if you want me to sail with you enough to
Simon Nishikanta glanced about. Grimshaw and Captain Doane
"At three o'clock to-morrow afternoon, at the shipping
commissioner's," the Jew agreed. "When will you report for duty?"
"When will you sail, sir?" Daughtry countered.
"Bright and early next morning."
"Then I'll be on board and on duty some time to-morrow night,
And as he went up the cabin companion, he could hear the Ancient
Mariner maundering: "Eighteen days in the longboat, eighteen days
of scorching hell . . . "
Michael left the Makambo as he had come on board, through a
porthole. Likewise, the affair occurred at night, and it was
Kwaque's hands that received him. It had been quick work, and
daring, in the dark of early evening. From the boat-deck, with a
bowline under Kwaque's arms and a turn of the rope around a pin,
Dag Daughtry had lowered his leprous servitor into the waiting
On his way below, he encountered Captain Duncan, who saw fit to
"No shannigan with Killeny Boy, Steward. He must go back to
Tulagi with us."
"Yes, sir," the steward agreed. "An' I'm keepin' him tight in my
room to make safe. Want to see him, sir?"
The very frankness of the invitation made the captain suspicious,
and the thought flashed through his mind that perhaps Killeny Boy
was already hidden ashore somewhere by the dog-stealing steward.
"Yes, indeed I'd like to say how-do-you-do to him," Captain Duncan
And his was genuine surprise, on entering the steward's room, to
behold Michael just rousing from his curled-up sleep on the floor.
But when he left, his surprise would have been shocking could he
have seen through the closed door what immediately began to take
place. Out through the open porthole, in a steady stream,
Daughtry was passing the contents of the room. Everything went
that belonged to him, including the turtle-shell and the
photographs and calendars on the wall. Michael, with the command
of silence laid upon him, went last. Remained only a sea-chest
and two suit-cases, themselves too large for the porthole but bare
When Daughtry sauntered along the main deck a few minutes later
and paused for a gossip with the customs officer and a
quartermaster at the head of the gang-plank, Captain Duncan little
dreamed that his casual glance was resting on his steward for the
last time. He watched him go down the gang-plank empty-handed,
with no dog at his heels, and stroll off along the wharf under the
Ten minutes after Captain Duncan saw the last of his broad back,
Daughtry, in the launch with his belongings and heading for
Jackson Bay, was hunched over Michael and caressing him, while
Kwaque, crooning with joy under his breath that he was with all
that was precious to him in the world, felt once again in the
side-pocket of his flimsy coat to make sure that his beloved jews'
harp had not been left behind.
Dag Daughtry was paying for Michael, and paying well. Among other
things, he had not cared to arouse suspicion by drawing his wages
from Burns Philp. The twenty pounds due him he had abandoned, and
this was the very sum, that night on the beach at Tulagi, he had
decided he could realize from the sale of Michael. He had stolen
him to sell. He was paying for him the sales price that had
For, as one has well said: the horse abases the base, ennobles
the noble. Likewise the dog. The theft of a dog to sell for a
price had been the abasement worked by Michael on Dag Daughtry.
To pay the price out of sheer heart-love that could recognize no
price too great to pay, had been the ennoblement of Dag Daughtry
which Michael had worked. And as the launch chug-chugged across
the quiet harbour under the southern stars, Dag Daughtry would
have risked and tossed his life into the bargain in a battle to
continue to have and to hold the dog he had originally conceived
of as being interchangeable for so many dozens of beer.
The Mary Turner, towed out by a tug, sailed shortly after
daybreak, and Daughtry, Kwaque, and Michael looked their last for
ever on Sydney Harbour.
"Once again these old eyes have seen this fair haven," the Ancient
Mariner, beside them gazing, babbled; and Daughtry could not help
but notice the way the wheat-farmer and the pawnbroker pricked
their ears to listen and glanced each to the other with scant
eyes. "It was in '52, in 1852, on such a day as this, all
drinking and singing along the decks, we cleared from Sydney in
the Wide Awake. A pretty craft, oh sirs, a most clever and pretty
craft. A crew, a brave crew, all youngsters, all of us, fore and
aft, no man was forty, a mad, gay crew. The captain was an
elderly gentleman of twenty-eight, the third officer another of
eighteen, the down, untouched of steel, like so much young velvet
on his cheek. He, too, died in the longboat. And the captain
gasped out his last under the palm trees of the isle unnamable
while the brown maidens wept about him and fanned the air to his
Dag Daughtry heard no more, for he turned below to take up his new
routine of duty. But while he made up bunks with fresh linen and
directed Kwaque's efforts to cleaning long-neglected floors, he
shook his head to himself and muttered, "He's a keen 'un. He's a
keen 'un. All ain't fools that look it."
The fine lines of the Mary Turner were explained by the fact that
she had been built for seal-hunting; and for the same reason on
board of her was room and to spare. The forecastle with bunk-
space for twelve, bedded but eight Scandinavian seamen. The five
staterooms of the cabin accommodated the three treasure-hunters,
the Ancient Mariner, and the mate--the latter a large-bodied,
gentle-souled Russian-Finn, known as Mr. Jackson through inability
of his shipmates to pronounce the name he had signed on the ship's
Remained the steerage, just for'ard of the cabin, separated from
it by a stout bulkhead and entered by a companionway on the main
deck. On this deck, between the break of the poop and the
steerage companion, stood the galley. In the steerage itself,
which possessed a far larger living-space than the cabin, were six
capacious bunks, each double the width of the forecastle bunks,
and each curtained and with no bunk above it.
"Some fella glory-hole, eh, Kwaque?" Daughtry told his seventeen-
years-old brown-skinned Papuan with the withered ancient face of a
centenarian, the legs of a living skeleton, and the huge-stomached
torso of an elderly Japanese wrestler. "Eh, Kwaque! What you
And Kwaque, too awed by the spaciousness to speak, eloquently
rolled his eyes in agreement.
"You likee this piecee bunk?" the cook, a little old Chinaman,
asked the steward with eager humility, inviting the white man's
acceptance of his own bunk with a wave of arm.
Daughtry shook his head. He had early learned that it was wise to
get along well with sea-cooks, since sea-cocks were notoriously
given to going suddenly lunatic and slicing and hacking up their
shipmates with butcher knives and meat cleavers on the slightest
remembered provocation. Besides, there was an equally good bunk
all the way across the width of the steerage from the Chinaman's.
The bunk next on the port side to the cook's and abaft of it
Daughtry allotted to Kwaque. Thus he retained for himself and
Michael the entire starboard side with its three bunks. The next
one abaft of his own he named "Killeny Boy's," and called on
Kwaque and the cook to take notice. Daughtry had a sense that the
cook, whose name had been quickly volunteered as Ah Moy, was not
entirely satisfied with the arrangement; but it affected him no
more than a momentary curiosity about a Chinaman who drew the line
at a dog taking a bunk in the same apartment with him.
Half an hour later, returning, from setting the cabin aright, to
the steerage for Kwaque to serve him with a bottle of beer,
Daughtry observed that Ah Moy had moved his entire bunk belongings
across the steerage to the third bunk on the starboard side. This
had put him with Daughtry and Michael and left Kwaque with half
the steerage to himself. Daughtry's curiosity recrudesced.
"What name along that fella Chink?" he demanded of Kwaque. "He no
like 'm you fella boy stop 'm along same fella side along him.
What for? My word! What name? That fella Chink make 'm me cross
along him too much!"
"Suppose 'm that fella Chink maybe he think 'm me kai-kai along
him," Kwaque grinned in one of his rare jokes.
"All right," the steward concluded. "We find out. You move 'm
along my bunk, I move 'm along that fella Chink's bunk."
This accomplished, so that Kwaque, Michael, and Ah Moy occupied
the starboard side and Daughtry alone bunked on the port side, he
went on deck and aft to his duties. On his next return he found
Ah Moy had transferred back to the port side, but this time into
the last bunk aft.
"Seems the beggar's taken a fancy to me," the steward smiled to
Nor was he capable of guessing Ah Moy's reason for bunking always
on the opposite side from Kwaque.
"I changee," the little old cook explained, with anxious eyes to
please and placate, in response to Daughtry's direct question.
"All the time like that, changee, plentee changee. You savvee?"
Daughtry did not savvee, and shook his head, while Ah Moy's slant
eyes betrayed none of the anxiety and fear with which he privily
gazed on Kwaque's two permanently bent fingers of the left hand
and on Kwaque's forehead, between the eyes, where the skin
appeared a shade darker, a trifle thicker, and was marked by the
first beginning of three short vertical lines or creases that were
already giving him the lion-like appearance, the leonine face so
named by the experts and technicians of the fell disease.
As the days passed, the steward took facetious occasions, when he
had drunk five quarts of his daily allowance, to shift his and
Kwaque's bunks about. And invariably Ah Moy shifted, though
Daughtry failed to notice that he never shifted into a bunk which
Kwaque had occupied. Nor did he notice that it was when the time
came that Kwaque had variously occupied all the six bunks that Ah
Moy made himself a canvas hammock, suspended it from the deck
beams above and thereafter swung clear in space and unmolested.
Daughtry dismissed the matter from his thoughts as no more than a
thing in keeping with the general inscrutability of the Chinese
mind. He did notice, however, that Kwaque was never permitted to
enter the galley. Another thing he noticed, which, expressed in
his own words, was: "That's the all-dangdest cleanest Chink I've
ever clapped my lamps on. Clean in galley, clean in steerage,
clean in everything. He's always washing the dishes in boiling
water, when he isn't washing himself or his clothes or bedding.
My word, he actually boils his blankets once a week!"
For there were other things to occupy the steward's mind. Getting
acquainted with the five men aft in the cabin, and lining up the
whole situation and the relations of each of the five to that
situation and to one another, consumed much time. Then there was
the path of the Mary Turner across the sea. No old sailor
breathes who does not desire to know the casual course of his ship
and the next port-of-call.
"We ought to be moving along a line that'll cross somewhere
northard of New Zealand," Daughtry guessed to himself, after a
hundred stolen glances into the binnacle. But that was all the
information concerning the ship's navigation he could steal; for
Captain Doane took the observations and worked them out, to the
exclusion of the mate, and Captain Doane always methodically
locked up his chart and log. That there were heated discussions
in the cabin, in which terms of latitude and longitude were
bandied back and forth, Daughtry did know; but more than that he
could not know, because it was early impressed upon him that the
one place for him never to be, at such times of council, was the
cabin. Also, he could not but conclude that these councils were
real battles wherein Messrs. Doane, Nishikanta, and Grimahaw
screamed at each other and pounded the table at each other, when
they were not patiently and most politely interrogating the
"He's got their goat," the steward early concluded to himself;
but, thereafter, try as he would, he failed to get the Ancient
Charles Stough Greenleaf was the Ancient Mariner's name. This,
Daughtry got from him, and nothing else did he get save
maunderings and ravings about the heat of the longboat and the
treasure a fathom deep under the sand.
"There's some of us plays games, an' some of us as looks on an'
admires the games they see," the steward made his bid one day.
"And I'm sure these days lookin' on at a pretty game. The more I
see it the more I got to admire."
The Ancient Mariner dreamed back into the steward's eyes with a
blank, unseeing gaze.
"On the Wide Awake all the stewards were young, mere boys," he
"Yes, sir," Daughtry agreed pleasantly. "From all you say, the
Wide Awake, with all its youngsters, was sure some craft. Not
like the crowd of old 'uns on this here hooker. But I doubt, sir,
that them youngsters ever played as clever games as is being
played aboard us right now. I just got to admire the fine way
it's being done, sir."
"I'll tell you something," the Ancient Mariner replied, with such
confidential air that almost Daughtry leaned to hear. "No steward
on the Wide Awake could mix a high-ball in just the way I like, as
well as you. We didn't know cocktails in those days, but we had
sherry and bitters. A good appetizer, too, a most excellent
"I'll tell you something more," he continued, just as it seemed he
had finished, and just in time to interrupt Daughtry away from his
third attempt to ferret out the true inwardness of the situation
on the Mary Turner and of the Ancient Mariner's part in it. "It
is mighty nigh five bells, and I should be very pleased to have
one of your delicious cocktails ere I go down to dine."
More suspicious than ever of him was Daughtry after this episode.
But, as the days went by, he came more and more to the conclusion
that Charles Stough Greenleaf was a senile old man who sincerely
believed in the abiding of a buried treasure somewhere in the
Once, polishing the brasswork on the hand-rails of the cabin
companionway, Daughtry overheard the ancient one explaining his
terrible scar and missing fingers to Grimshaw and the Armenian
Jew. The pair of them had plied him with extra drinks in the hope
of getting more out of him by way of his loosened tongue.
"It was in the longboat," the aged voice cackled up the companion.
"On the eleventh day it was that the mutiny broke. We in the
sternsheets stood together against them. It was all a madness.
We were starved sore, but we were mad for water. It was over the
water it began. For, see you, it was our custom to lick the dew
from the oar-blades, the gunwales, the thwarts, and the inside
planking. And each man of us had developed property in the dew-
collecting surfaces. Thus, the tiller and the rudder-head and
half of the plank of the starboard stern-sheet had become the
property of the second officer. No one of us lacked the honour to
respect his property. The third officer was a lad, only eighteen,
a brave and charming boy. He shared with the second officer the
starboard stern-sheet plank. They drew a line to mark the
division, and neither, lapping up what scant moisture fell during
the night-hours, ever dreamed of trespassing across the line.
They were too honourable.
"But the sailors--no. They squabbled amongst themselves over the
dew-surfaces, and only the night before one of them was knifed
because he so stole. But on this night, waiting for the dew, a
little of it, to become more, on the surfaces that were mine, I
heard the noises of a dew-lapper moving aft along the port-
gunwale--which was my property aft of the stroke-thwart clear to
the stern. I emerged from a nightmare dream of crystal springs
and swollen rivers to listen to this night-drinker that I feared
might encroach upon what was mine.
"Nearer he came to the line of my property, and I could hear him
making little moaning, whimpering noises as he licked the damp
wood. It was like listening to an animal grazing pasture-grass at
night and ever grazing nearer.
It chanced I was holding a boat-stretcher in my hand--to catch
what little dew might fall upon it. I did not know who it was,
but when he lapped across the line and moaned and whimpered as he
licked up my precious drops of dew, I struck out. The boat-
stretcher caught him fairly on the nose--it was the bo's'n--and
the mutiny began. It was the bo's'n's knife that sliced down my
face and sliced away my fingers. The third officer, the eighteen-
year-old lad, fought well beside me, and saved me, so that, just
before I fainted, he and I, between us, hove the bo's'n's carcass
A shifting of feet and changing of positions of those in the cabin
plunged Daughtry back into his polishing, which he had for the
time forgotten. And, as he rubbed the brass-work, he told himself
under his breath: "The old party's sure been through the mill.
Such things just got to happen."
"No," the Ancient Mariner was continuing, in his thin falsetto, in
reply to a query. "It wasn't the wounds that made me faint. It
was the exertion I made in the struggle. I was too weak. No; so
little moisture was there in my system that I didn't bleed much.
And the amazing thing, under the circumstances, was the quickness
with which I healed. The second officer sewed me up next day with
a needle he'd made out of an ivory toothpick and with twine he
twisted out of the threads from a frayed tarpaulin."
"Might I ask, Mr. Greenleaf, if there were rings at the time on
the fingers that were cut off?" Daughtry heard Simon Nishikanta
"Yes, and one beauty. I found it afterward in the boat bottom and
presented it to the sandalwood trader who rescued me. It was a
large diamond. I paid one hundred and eighty guineas for it to an
English sailor in the Barbadoes. He'd stolen it, and of course it
was worth more. It was a beautiful gem. The sandalwood man did
not merely save my life for it. In addition, he spent fully a
hundred pounds in outfitting me and buying me a passage from
Thursday Island to Shanghai."
"There's no getting away from them rings he wears," Daughtry
overheard Simon Nishikanta that evening telling Grimshaw in the
dark on the weather poop. "You don't see that kind nowadays.
They're old, real old. They're not men's rings so much as what
you'd call, in the old-fashioned days, gentlemen's rings. Real
gentlemen, I mean, grand gentlemen, wore rings like them. I wish
collateral like them came into my loan offices these days.
They're worth big money."
"I just want to tell you, Killeny Boy, that maybe I'll be wishin'
before the voyage is over that I'd gone on a lay of the treasure
instead of straight wages," Dag Daughtry confided to Michael that
night at turning-in time as Kwaque removed his shoes and as he
paused midway in the draining of his sixth bottle. "Take it from
me, Killeny, that old gentleman knows what he's talkin' about, an'
has been some hummer in his days. Men don't lose the fingers off
their hands and get their faces chopped open just for nothing--nor
sport rings that makes a Jew pawnbroker's mouth water."
Before the voyage of the Mary Turner came to an end, Dag Daughtry,
sitting down between the rows of water-casks in the main-hold,
with a great laugh rechristened the schooner "the Ship of Fools."
But that was some weeks after. In the meantime he so fulfilled
his duties that not even Captain Doane could conjure a shadow of
Especially did the steward attend upon the Ancient Mariner, for
whom he had come to conceive a strong admiration, if not
affection. The old fellow was different from his cabin-mates.
They were money-lovers; everything in them had narrowed down to
the pursuit of dollars. Daughtry, himself moulded on generously
careless lines, could not but appreciate the spaciousness of the
Ancient Mariner, who had evidently lived spaciously and who was
ever for sharing the treasure they sought.
"You'll get your whack, steward, if it comes out of my share," he
frequently assured Daughtry at times of special kindness on the
latter's part. "There's oodles of it, and oodles of it, and,
without kith or kin, I have so little time longer to live that I
shall not need it much or much of it."
And so the Ship of Fools sailed on, all aft fooling and befouling,
from the guileless-eyed, gentle-souled Finnish mate, who, with the
scent of treasure pungent in his nostrils, with a duplicate key
stole the ship's daily position from Captain Doane's locked desk,
to Ah Moy, the cook, who kept Kwaque at a distance and never
whispered warning to the others of the risk they ran from
continual contact with the carrier of the terrible disease.
Kwaque himself had neither thought nor worry of the matter. He
knew the thing as a thing that occasionally happened to human
creatures. It bothered him, from the pain standpoint, scarcely at
all, and it never entered his kinky head that his master did not
know about it. For the same reason he never suspected why Ah Moy
kept him so at a distance. Nor had Kwaque other worries. His
god, over all gods of sea and jungle, he worshipped, and, himself
ever intimately allowed in the presence, paradise was wherever he
and his god, the steward, might be.
And so Michael. Much in the same way that Kwaque loved and
worshipped did he love and worship the six-quart man. To Michael
and Kwaque, the daily, even hourly, recognition and consideration
of Dag Daughtry was tantamount to resting continuously in the
bosom of Abraham. The god of Messrs. Doane, Nishikanta, and
Grimshaw was a graven god whose name was Gold. The god of Kwaque
and Michael was a living god, whose voice could be always heard,
whose arms could be always warm, the pulse of whose heart could be
always felt throbbing in a myriad acts and touches.
No greater joy was Michael's than to sit by the hour with Steward
and sing with him all songs and tunes he sang or hummed. With a
quantity or pitch even more of genius or unusualness in him than
in Jerry, Michael learned more quickly, and since the way of his
education was singing, he came to sing far beyond the best Villa
Kennan ever taught Jerry.
Michael could howl, or sing, rather (because his howling was so
mellow and so controlled), any air that was not beyond his
register that Steward elected to sing with him. In addition, he
could sing by himself, and unmistakably, such simple airs as
"Home, Sweet Home," "God save the King," and "The Sweet By and
By." Even alone, prompted by Steward a score of feet away from
him, could he lift up his muzzle and sing "Shenandoah" and "Roll
me down to Rio."
Kwaque, on stolen occasions when Steward was not around, would get
out his Jews' harp and by the sheer compellingness of the
primitive instrument make Michael sing with him the barbaric and
devil-devil rhythms of King William Island. Another master of
song, but one in whom Michael delighted, came to rule over him.
This master's name was Cocky. He so introduced himself to Michael
at their first meeting.
"Cocky," he said bravely, without a quiver of fear or flight, when
Michael had charged upon him at sight to destroy him. And the
human voice, the voice of a god, issuing from the throat of the
tiny, snow-white bird, had made Michael go back on his haunches,
while, with eyes and nostrils, he quested the steerage for the
human who had spoken. And there was no human . . . only a small
cockatoo that twisted his head impudently and sidewise at him and
The taboo of the chicken Michael had been well taught in his
earliest days at Meringe. Chickens, esteemed by MISTER Haggin and
his white-god fellows, were things that dogs must even defend
instead of ever attack. But this thing, itself no chicken, with
the seeming of a wild feathered thing of the jungle that was fair
game for any dog, talked to him with the voice of a god.
"Get off your foot," it commanded so peremptorily, so humanly, as
again to startle Michael and made him quest about the steerage for
the god-throat that had uttered it.
"Get off your foot, or I'll throw the leg of Moses at you," was
the next command from the tiny feathered thing.
After that came a farrago of Chinese, so like the voice of Ah Moy,
that again, though for the last time, Michael sought about the
steerage for the utterer.
At this Cocky burst into such wild and fantastic shrieks of
laughter that Michael, ears pricked, head cocked to one side,
identified in the fibres of the laughter the fibres of the various
voices he had just previously heard.
And Cocky, only a few ounces in weight, less than half a pound, a
tiny framework of fragile bone covered with a handful of feathers
and incasing a heart that was as big in pluck as any heart on the
Mary Turner, became almost immediately Michael's friend and
comrade, as well as ruler. Minute morsel of daring and courage
that Cocky was, he commanded Michael's respect from the first.
And Michael, who with a single careless paw-stroke could have
broken Cocky's slender neck and put out for ever the brave
brightness of Cocky's eyes, was careful of him from the first.
And he permitted him a myriad liberties that he would never have
Ingrained in Michael's heredity, from the very beginning of four-
legged dogs on earth, was the DEFENCE OF THE MEAT. He never
reasoned it. Automatic and involuntary as his heart-beating and
air-breathing, was his defence of his meat once he had his paw on
it, his teeth in it. Only to Steward, by an extreme effort of
will and control, could he accord the right to touch his meat once
he had himself touched it. Even Kwaque, who most usually fed him
under Steward's instructions, knew that the safety of fingers and
flesh resided in having nothing further whatever to do with
anything of food once in Michael's possession. But Cocky, a bit
of feathery down, a morsel-flash of light and life with the throat
of a god, violated with sheer impudence and daring Michael's
taboo, the defence of the meat.
Perched on the rim of Michael's pannikin, this inconsiderable
adventurer from out of the dark into the sun of life, a mere spark
and mote between the darks, by a ruffing of his salmon-pink crest,
a swift and enormous dilation of his bead-black pupils, and a
raucous imperative cry, as of all the gods, in his throat, could
make Michael give back and permit the fastidious selection of the
choicest tidbits of his dish.
For Cocky had a way with him, and ways and ways. He, who was
sheer bladed steel in the imperious flashing of his will, could
swashbuckle and bully like any over-seas roisterer, or wheedle as
wickedly winningly as the first woman out of Eden or the last
woman of that descent. When Cocky, balanced on one leg, the other
leg in the air as the foot of it held the scruff of Michael's
neck, leaned to Michael's ear and wheedled, Michael could only lay
down silkily the bristly hair-waves of his neck, and with silly
half-idiotic eyes of bliss agree to whatever was Cocky's will or
whimsey so delivered.
Cocky became more intimately Michael's because, very early, Ah Moy
washed his hands of the bird. Ah Moy had bought him in Sydney
from a sailor for eighteen shillings and chaffered an hour over
the bargain. And when he saw Cocky, one day, perched and voluble,
on the twisted fingers of Kwaque's left hand, Ah Moy discovered
such instant distaste for the bird that not even eighteen
shillings, coupled with possession of Cocky and possible contact,
had any value to him.
"You likee him? You wanchee?" he proffered.
"Changee for changee!" Kwaque queried back, taking for granted
that it was an offer to exchange and wondering whether the little
old cook had become enamoured of his precious jews' harp.
"No changee for changee," Ah Moy answered. "You wanchee him, all
right, can do."
"How fashion can do?" Kwaque demanded, who to his beche-de-mer
English was already adding pidgin English. "Suppose 'm me fella
no got 'm what 'you fella likee?"
"No fashion changee," Ah Moy reiterated. "You wanchee, you likee
he stop along you fella all right, my word."
And so did pass the brave bit of feathered life with the heart of
pluck, called of men, and of himself, "Cocky," who had been
birthed in the jungle roof of the island of Santo, in the New
Hebrides, who had been netted by a two-legged black man-eater and
sold for six sticks of tobacco and a shingle hatchet to a Scotch
trader dying of malaria, and in turn had been traded from hand to
hand, for four shillings to a blackbirder, for a turtle-shell comb
made by an English coal-passer after an old Spanish design, for
the appraised value of six shillings and sixpence in a poker game
in the firemen's forecastle, for a secondhand accordion worth at
least twenty shillings, and on for eighteen shillings cash to a
little old withered Chinaman--so did pass Cocky, as mortal or as
immortal as any brave sparkle of life on the planet, from the
possession of one, Ah Moy, a sea-cock who, forty years before, had
slain his young wife in Macao for cause and fled away to sea, to
Kwaque, a leprous Black Papuan who was slave to one, Dag Daughtry,
himself a servant of other men to whom he humbly admitted "Yes,
sir," and "No, sir," and "Thank you, sir."
One other comrade Michael found, although Cocky was no party to
the friendship. This was Scraps, the awkward young Newfoundland
puppy, who was the property of no one, unless of the schooner Mary
Turner herself, for no man, fore or aft, claimed ownership, while
every man disclaimed having brought him on board. So he was
called Scraps, and, since he was nobody's dog, was everybody's
dog--so much so, that Mr. Jackson promised to knock Ah Moy's block
off if he did not feed the puppy well, while Sigurd Halvorsen, in
the forecastle, did his best to knock off Henrik Gjertsen's block
when the latter was guilty of kicking Scraps out of his way. Yea,
even more. When Simon Nishikanta, huge and gross as in the flesh
he was and for ever painting delicate, insipid, feministic water-
colours, when he threw his deck-chair at Scraps for clumsily
knocking over his easel, he found the ham-like hand of Grimshaw so
instant and heavy on his shoulder as to whirl him half about,
almost fling him to the deck, and leave him lame-muscled and
black-and-blued for days.
Michael, full grown, mature, was so merry-hearted an individual
that he found all delight in interminable romps with Scraps. So
strong was the play-instinct in him, as well as was his
constitution strong, that he continually outplayed Scraps to
abject weariness, so that he could only lie on the deck and pant
and laugh through air-draughty lips and dab futilely in the air
with weak forepaws at Michael's continued ferocious-acted
onslaughts. And this, despite the fact that Scraps out-bullied
him and out-scaled him at least three times, and was as careless
and unwitting of the weight of his legs or shoulders as a baby
elephant on a lawn of daisies. Given his breath back again,
Scraps was as ripe as ever for another frolic, and Michael was
just as ripe to meet him. All of which was splendid training for
Michael, keeping him in the tiptop of physical condition and
So sailed the Ship of Fools--Michael playing with Scraps,
respecting Cocky and by Cocky being bullied and wheedled, singing
with Steward and worshipping him; Daughtry drinking his six quarts
of beer each day, collecting his wages the first of each month,
and admiring Charles Stough Greenleaf as the finest man on board;
Kwaque serving and loving his master and thickening and darkening
and creasing his brow with the growing leprous infiltration; Ah
Moy avoiding the Black Papuan as the very plague, washing himself
continuously and boiling his blankets once a week; Captain Doane
doing the navigating and worrying about his flat-building in San
Francisco; Grimshaw resting his ham-hands on his colossal knees
and girding at the pawnbroker to contribute as much to the
adventure as he was contributing from his wheat-ranches; Simon
Nishikanta wiping his sweaty neck with the greasy silk
handkerchief and painting endless water-colours; the mate
patiently stealing the ship's latitude and longitude with his
duplicate key; and the Ancient Mariner, solacing himself with
Scotch highballs, smoking fragrant three-for-a-dollar Havanas that
were charged to the adventure, and for ever maundering about the
hell of the longboat, the cross-bearings unnamable, and the
treasure a fathom under the sand.
Came a stretch of ocean that to Daughtry was like all other
stretches of ocean and unidentifiable from them. No land broke
the sea-rim. The ship the centre, the horizon was the invariable
and eternal circle of the world. The magnetic needle in the
binnacle was the point on which the Mary Turner ever pivoted. The
sun rose in the undoubted east and set in the undoubted west,
corrected and proved, of course, by declination, deviation, and
variation; and the nightly march of the stars and constellations
proceeded across the sky.
And in this stretch of ocean, lookouts were mastheaded at day-dawn
and kept mastheaded until twilight of evening, when the Mary
Turner was hove-to, to hold her position through the night. As
time went by, and the scent, according to the Ancient Mariner,
grow hotter, all three of the investors in the adventure came to
going aloft. Grimshaw contented himself with standing on the main
cross-trees. Captain Doane climbed even higher, seating himself
on the stump of the foremast with legs a-straddle of the butt of
the foretopmast. And Simon Nishikanta tore himself away from his
everlasting painting of all colour-delicacies of sea and sky such
as are painted by seminary maidens, to be helped and hoisted up
the ratlines of the mizzen rigging, the huge bulk of him, by two
grinning, slim-waisted sailors, until they lashed him squarely on
the crosstrees and left him to stare with eyes of golden desire,
across the sun-washed sea through the finest pair of unredeemed
binoculars that had ever been pledged in his pawnshops.
"Strange," the Ancient Mariner would mutter, "strange, and most
strange. This is the very place. There can be no mistake. I'd
have trusted that youngster of a third officer anywhere. He was
only eighteen, but he could navigate better than the captain.
Didn't he fetch the atoll after eighteen days in the longboat? No
standard compasses, and you know what a small-boat horizon is,
with a big sea, for a sextant. He died, but the dying course he
gave me held good, so that I fetched the atoll the very next day
after I hove his body overboard."
Captain Doane would shrug his shoulders and defiantly meet the
mistrustful eyes of the Armenian Jew.
"It cannot have sunk, surely," the Ancient Mariner would tactfully
carry across the forbidding pause. "The island was no mere shoal
or reef. The Lion's Head was thirty-eight hundred and thirty-five
feet. I saw the captain and the third officer triangulate it."
"I've raked and combed the sea," Captain Doane would then break
out, "and the teeth of my comb are not so wide apart as to let
slip through a four-thousand-foot peak."
"Strange, strange," the Ancient Mariner would next mutter, half to
his cogitating soul, half aloud to the treasure-seekers. Then,
with a sudden brightening, he would add:
"But, of course, the variation has changed, Captain Doane. Have
you allowed for the change in variation for half a century! That
should make a grave difference. Why, as I understand it, who am
no navigator, the variation was not so definitely and accurately
known in those days as now."
"Latitude was latitude, and longitude was longitude," would be the
captain's retort. "Variation and deviation are used in setting
courses and estimating dead reckoning."
All of which was Greek to Simon Nishikanta, who would promptly
take the Ancient Mariner's side of the discussion.
But the Ancient Mariner was fair-minded. What advantage he gave
the Jew one moment, he balanced the next moment with an advantage
to the skipper.
"It's a pity," he would suggest to Captain Doane, "that you have
only one chronometer. The entire fault may be with the
chronometer. Why did you sail with only one chronometer?"
"But I WAS willing for two," the Jew would defend. "You know
The wheat-farmer would nod reluctantly and Captain would snap:
"But not for three chronometers."
"But if two was no better than one, as you said so yourself and as
Grimshaw will bear witness, then three was no better than two
except for an expense."
"But if you only have two chronometers, how can you tell which has
gone wrong?" Captain Doane would demand.
"Search me," would come the pawnbroker's retort, accompanied by an
incredulous shrug of the shoulders. "If you can't tell which is
wrong of two, then how much harder must it be to tell which is
wrong of two dozen? With only two, it's a fifty-fifty split that
one or the other is wrong."
"But don't you realize--"
"I realize that it's all a great foolishness, all this highbrow
stuff about navigation. I've got clerks fourteen years old in my
offices that can figure circles all around you and your
navigation. Ask them that if two chronometers ain't better than
one, then how can two thousand be better than one? And they'd
answer quick, snap, like that, that if two dollars ain't any
better than one dollar, then two thousand dollars ain't any better
than one dollar. That's common sense."
"Just the same, you're wrong on general principle," Grimshaw would
oar in. "I said at the time that the only reason we took Captain
Doane in with us on the deal was because we needed a navigator and
because you and me didn't know the first thing about it. You
said, 'Yes, sure'; and right away knew more about it than him when
you wouldn't stand for buying three chronometers. What was the
matter with you was that the expense hurt you. That's about as
big an idea as your mind ever had room for. You go around looking
for to dig out ten million dollars with a second-hand spade you
call buy for sixty-eight cents."
Dag Daughtry could not fail to overhear some of these
conversations, which were altercations rather than councils. The
invariable ending, for Simon Nishikanta, would be what sailors
name "the sea-grouch." For hours afterward the sulky Jew would
speak to no one nor acknowledge speech from any one. Vainly
striving to paint, he would suddenly burst into violent rage, tear
up his attempt, stamp it into the deck, then get out his large-
calibred automatic rifle, perch himself on the forecastle-head,
and try to shoot any stray porpoise, albacore, or dolphin. It
seemed to give him great relief to send a bullet home into the
body of some surging, gorgeous-hued fish, arrest its glorious
flashing motion for ever, and turn it on its side slowly to sink
down into the death and depth of the sea.
On occasion, when a school of blackfish disported by, each one of
them a whale of respectable size, Nishikanta would be beside
himself in the ecstasy of inflicting pain. Out of the school
perhaps he would reach a score of the leviathans, his bullets
biting into them like whip-lashes, so that each, like a colt
surprised by the stock-whip, would leap in the air, or with a
flirt of tail dive under the surface, and then charge madly across
the ocean and away from sight in a foam-churn of speed.
The Ancient Mariner would shake his head sadly; and Daughtry, who
likewise was hurt by the infliction of hurt on unoffending
animals, would sympathize with him and fetch him unbidden another
of the expensive three-for-a-dollar cigars so that his feelings
might be soothed. Grimshaw would curl his lip in a sneer and
mutter: "The cheap skate. The skunk. No man with half the
backbone of a man would take it out of the harmless creatures.
He's that kind that if he didn't like you, or if you criticised
his grammar or arithmetic, he'd kick your dog to get even . . . or
poison it. In the good old days up in Colusa we used to hang men
like him just to keep the air we breathed clean and wholesome."
But it was Captain Doane who protested outright.
"Look at here, Nishikanta," he would say, his face white and his
lips trembling with anger. "That's rough stuff, and all you can
get back for it is rough stuff. I know what I'm talking about.
You've got no right to risk our lives that way. Wasn't the pilot
boat Annie Mine sunk by a whale right in the Golden Gate? Didn't
I sail in as a youngster, second mate on the brig Berncastle, into
Hakodate, pumping double watches to keep afloat just because a
whale took a smash at us? Didn't the full-rigged ship, the whaler
Essex, sink off the west coast of South America, twelve hundred
miles from the nearest land for the small boats to cover, and all
because of a big cow whale that butted her into kindling-wood?"
And Simon Nishikanta, in his grouch, disdaining to reply, would
continue to pepper the last whale into flight beyond the circle of
the sea their vision commanded.
"I remember the whaleship Essex," the Ancient Mariner told Dag
Daughtry. "It was a cow with a calf that did for her. Her
barrels were two-thirds full, too. She went down in less than an
hour. One of the boats never was heard of."
"And didn't another one of her boats get to Hawaii, sir?" Daughtry
queried with all due humility of respect. "Leastwise, thirty
years ago, when I was in Honolulu, I met a man, an old geezer, who
claimed he'd been a harpooner on a whaleship sunk by a whale off
the coast of South America. That was the first and last I heard
of it, until right now you speaking of it, sir. It must a-been
the same ship, sir, don't you think?"
"Unless two different ships were whale-sunk off the west coast,"
the Ancient Mariner replied. "And of the one ship, the Essex,
there is no discussion. It is historical. The chance is likely,
steward, that the man you mentioned was from the Essex."
Captain Doane worked hard, pursuing the sun in its daily course
through the sky, by the equation of time correcting its
aberrations due to the earth's swinging around the great circle of
its orbit, and charting Sumner lines innumerable, working assumed
latitudes for position until his head grew dizzy.
Simon Nishikanta sneered openly at what he considered the
captain's inefficient navigation, and continued to paint water-
colours when he was serene, and to shoot at whales, sea-birds, and
all things hurtable when he was downhearted and sea-sore with
disappointment at not sighting the Lion's Head peak of the Ancient
Mariner's treasure island
"I'll show I ain't a pincher," Nishikanta announced one day, after
having broiled at the mast-head for five hours of sea-searching.
"Captain Doane, how much could we have bought extra chronometers
for in San Francisco--good second-hand ones, I mean?"
"Say a hundred dollars," the captain answered.
"Very well. And this ain't a piker's proposition. The cost of
such a chronometer would have been divided between the three of
us. I stand for its total cost. You just tell the sailors that
I, Simon Nishikanta, will pay one hundred dollars gold money for
the first one that sights land on Mr. Greenleaf's latitude and
But the sailors who swarmed the mast-heads were doomed to
disappointment, in that for only two days did they have
opportunity to stare the ocean surface for the reward. Nor was
this due entirely to Dag Daughtry, despite the fact that his own
intention and act would have been sufficient to spoil their chance
for longer staring.
Down in the lazarette, under the main-cabin floor, it chanced that
he took toll of the cases of beer which had been shipped for his
especial benefit. He counted the cases, doubted the verdict of
his senses, lighted more matches, counted again, then vainly
searched the entire lazarette in the hope of finding more cases of
beer stored elsewhere.
He sat down under the trap door of the main-cabin floor and
thought for a solid hour. It was the Jew again, he concluded--the
Jew who had been willing to equip the Mary Turner with two
chronometers, but not with three; the Jew who had ratified the
agreement of a sufficient supply to permit Daughtry his daily six
quarts. Once again the steward counted the cases to make sure.
There were three. And since each case contained two dozen quarts,
and since his whack each day was half a dozen quarts, it was
patent that, the supply that stared him in the face would last him
only twelve days. And twelve days were none too long to sail from
this unidentifiable naked sea-stretch to the nearest possible port
where beer could be purchased.
The steward, once his mind was made up, wasted no time. The clock
marked a quarter before twelve when he climbed up out of the
lazarette, replaced the trapdoor, and hurried to set the table.
He served the company through the noon meal, although it was all
he could do to refrain from capsizing the big tureen of split-pea
soup over the head of Simon Nishikanta. What did effectually
withstrain him was the knowledge of the act which in the lazarette
he had already determined to perform that afternoon down in the
main hold where the water-casks were stored.
At three o'clock, while the Ancient Mariner supposedly drowned in
his room, and while Captain Doane, Grimshaw, and half the watch on
deck clustered at the mast-heads to try to raise the Lion's Head
from out the sapphire sea, Dag Daughtry dropped down the ladder of
the open hatchway into the main hold. Here, in long tiers, with
alleyways between, the water-casks were chocked safely on their
From inside his shirt the steward drew a brace, and to it fitted a
half-inch bit from his hip-pocket. On his knees, he bored through
the head of the first cask until the water rushed out upon the
deck and flowed down into the bilge. He worked quickly, boring
cask after cask down the alleyway that led to deeper twilight.
When he had reached the end of the first row of casks he paused a
moment to listen to the gurglings of the many half-inch streams
running to waste. His quick ears caught a similar gurgling from
the right in the direction of the next alleyway. Listening
closely, he could have sworn he heard the sounds of a bit biting
into hard wood.
A minute later, his own brace and bit carefully secreted, his hand
was descending on the shoulder of a man he could not recognize in
the gloom, but who, on his knees and wheezing, was steadily boring
into the head of a cask. The culprit made no effort to escape,
and when Daughtry struck a match he gazed down into the upturned
face of the Ancient Mariner.
"My word!" the steward muttered his amazement softly. "What in
hell are you running water out for?"
He could feel the old man's form trembling with violent
nervousness, and his own heart smote him for gentleness.
"It's all right," he whispered. "Don't mind me. How many have
"All in this tier," came the whispered answer. "You will not
inform on me to the . . . the others?"
"Inform?" Daughtry laughed softly. "I don't mind telling you that
we're playing the same game, though I don't know why you should
play it. I've just finished boring all of the starboard row. Now
I tell you, sir, you skin out right now, quietly, while the goin'
is good. Everybody's aloft, and you won't be noticed. I'll go
ahead and finish this job . . . all but enough water to last us
say a dozen days."
"I should like to talk with you . . . to explain matters," the
Ancient Mariner whispered.
"Sure, sir, an' I don't mind sayin', sir, that I'm just plain mad
curious to hear. I'll join you down in the cabin, say in ten
minutes, and we can have a real gam. But anyway, whatever your
game is, I'm with you. Because it happens to be my game to get
quick into port, and because, sir, I have a great liking and
respect for you. Now shoot along. I'll be with you inside ten
"I like you, steward, very much," the old man quavered.
"And I like you, sir--and a damn sight more than them money-sharks
aft. But we'll just postpone this. You beat it out of here,
while I finish scuppering the rest of the water."
A quarter of an hour later, with the three money-sharks still at
the mast-heads, Charles Stough Green-leaf was seated in the cabin
and sipping a highball, and Dag Daughtry was standing across the
table from him, drinking directly from a quart bottle of beer.
"Maybe you haven't guessed it," the Ancient Mariner said; "but
this is my fourth voyage after this treasure."
"You mean . . . ?" Daughtry asked.
"Just that. There isn't any treasure. There never was one--any
more than the Lion's Head, the longboat, or the bearings
Daughtry rumpled his grizzled thatch of hair in his perplexity, as
"Well, you got me, sir. You sure got me to believin' in that
"And I acknowledge, steward, that I am pleased to hear it. It
shows that I have not lost my cunning when I can deceive a man
like you. It is easy to deceive men whose souls know only money.
But you are different. You don't live and breathe for money.
I've watched you with your dog. I've watched you with your nigger
boy. I've watched you with your beer. And just because your
heart isn't set on a great buried treasure of gold, you are harder
to deceive. Those whose hearts are set, are most astonishingly
easy to fool. They are of cheap kidney. Offer them a proposition
of one hundred dollars for one, and they are like hungry pike
snapping at the bait. Offer a thousand dollars for one, or ten
thousand for one, and they become sheer lunatic. I am an old man,
a very old man. I like to live until I die--I mean, to live
decently, comfortably, respectably."
"And you like the voyages long? I begin to see, sir. Just as
they're getting near to where the treasure ain't, a little
accident like the loss of their water-supply sends them into port
and out again to start hunting all over."
The Ancient Mariner nodded, and his sun-washed eyes twinkled.
"There was the Emma Louisa. I kept her on the long voyage over
eighteen months with water accidents and similar accidents. And,
besides, they kept me in one of the best hotels in New Orleans for
over four months before the voyage began, and advanced to me
handsomely, yes, bravely, handsomely."
"But tell me more, sir; I am most interested," Dag Daughtry
concluded his simple matter of the beer. "It's a good game. I
might learn it for my old age, though I give you my word, sir, I
won't butt in on your game. I wouldn't tackle it until you are
gone, sir, good game that it is."
"First of all, you must pick out men with money--with plenty of
money, so that any loss will not hurt them. Also, they are easier
"Because they are more hoggish," the steward interrupted. "The
more money they've got the more they want."
"Precisely," the Ancient Mariner continued. "And, at least, they
are repaid. Such sea-voyages are excellent for their health.
After all, I do them neither hurt nor harm, but only good, and add
to their health."
"But them scars--that gouge out of your face--all them fingers
missing on your hand? You never got them in the fight in the
longboat when the bo's'n carved you up. Then where in Sam Hill
did you get the them? Wait a minute, sir. Let me fill your glass
first." And with a fresh-brimmed glass, Charles Stough Greanleaf
narrated the history of his scars.
"First, you must know, steward, that I am--well, a gentleman. My
name has its place in the pages of the history of the United
States, even back before the time when they were the United
States. I graduated second in my class in a university that it is
not necessary to name. For that matter, the name I am known by is
not my name. I carefully compounded it out of names of other
families. I have had misfortunes. I trod the quarter-deck when I
was a young man, though never the deck of the Wide Awake, which is
the ship of my fancy--and of my livelihood in these latter days.
"The scars you asked about, and the missing fingers? Thus it
chanced. It was the morning, at late getting-up times in a
Pullman, when the accident happened. The car being crowded, I had
been forced to accept an upper berth. It was only the other day.
A few years ago. I was an old man then. We were coming up from
Florida. It was a collision on a high trestle. The train
crumpled up, and some of the cars fell over sideways and fell off,
ninety feet into the bottom of a dry creek. It was dry, though
there was a pool of water just ten feet in diameter and eighteen
inches deep. All the rest was dry boulders, and I bull's-eyed
"This is the way it was. I had just got on my shoes and pants and
shirt, and had started to get out of the bunk. There I was,
sitting on the edge of the bunk, my legs dangling down, when the
locomotives came together. The berths, upper and lower, on the
opposite side had already been made up by the porter.
"And there I was, sitting, legs dangling, not knowing where I was,
on a trestle or a flat, when the thing happened. I just naturally
left that upper berth, soared like a bird across the aisle, went
through the glass of the window on the opposite side clean head-
first, turned over and over through the ninety feet of fall more
times than I like to remember, and by some sort of miracle was
mostly flat-out in the air when I bull's-eyed that pool of water.
It was only eighteen inches deep. But I hit it flat, and I hit it
so hard that it must have cushioned me. I was the only survivor
of my car. It struck forty feet away from me, off to the side.
And they took only the dead out of it. When they took me out of
the pool I wasn't dead by any means. And when the surgeons got
done with me, there were the fingers gone from my hand, that scar
down the side of my face . . . and, though you'd never guess it,
I've been three ribs short of the regular complement ever since.
"Oh, I had no complaint coming. Think of the others in that car--
all dead. Unfortunately, I was riding on a pass, and so could not
sue the railroad company. But here I am, the only man who ever
dived ninety feet into eighteen inches of water and lived to tell
the tale.--Steward, if you don't mind replenishing my glass . . .
Dag Daughtry complied and in his excitement of interest pulled off
the top of another quart of beer for himself.
"Go on, go on, sir," he murmured huskily, wiping his lips, "and
the treasure-hunting graft. I'm straight dying to hear. Sir, I
"I may say, steward," the Ancient Mariner resumed, "that I was
born with a silver spoon that melted in my mouth and left me a
proper prodigal son. Also, that I was born with a back-bone of
pride that would not melt. Not for a paltry railroad accident,
but for things long before as well as after, my family let me die,
and I . . . I let it live. That is the story. I let my family
live. Furthermore, it was not my family's fault. I never
whimpered. I never let on. I melted the last of my silver spoon-
-South Sea cotton, an' it please you, cacao in Tonga, rubber and
mahogany in Yucatan. And do you know, at the end, I slept in
Bowery lodging-houses and ate scrapple in East-Side feeding-dens,
and, on more than one occasion, stood in the bread-line at
midnight and pondered whether or not I should faint before I fed."
"And you never squealed to your family," Dag Daughtry murmured
admiringly in the pause.
The Ancient Mariner straightened up his shoulders, threw his head
back, then bowed it and repeated, "No, I never squealed. I went
into the poor-house, or the county poor-farm as they call it. I
lived sordidly. I lived like a beast. For six months I lived
like a beast, and then I saw my way out. I set about building the
Wide Awake. I built her plank by plank, and copper-fastened her,
selected her masts and every timber of her, and personally signed
on her full ship's complement fore-and-aft, and outfitted her
amongst the Jews, and sailed with her to the South Seas and the
treasure buried a fathom under the sand.
"You see," he explained, "all this I did in my mind, for all the
time I was a hostage in the poor-farm of broken men."
The Ancient Mariner's face grew suddenly bleak and fierce, and his
right hand flashed out to Daughtry's wrist, prisoning it in
withered fingers of steel.
"It was a long, hard way to get out of the poor-farm and finance
my miserable little, pitiful little, adventure of the Wide Awake.
Do you know that I worked in the poor-farm laundry for two years,
for one dollar and a half a week, with my one available hand and
what little I could do with the other, sorting dirty clothes and
folding sheets and pillow-slips until I thought a thousand times
my poor old back would break in two, and until I knew a million
times the location in my chest of every fraction of an inch of my
"You are a young man yet--"
Daughtry grinned denial as he rubbed his grizzled mat of hair.
"You are a young man yet, steward," the Ancient Mariner insisted
with a show of irritation. "You have never been shut out from
life. In the poor-farm one is shut out from life. There is no
respect--no, not for age alone, but for human life in the poor-
house. How shall I say it? One is not dead. Nor is one alive.
One is what once was alive and is in process of becoming dead.
Lepers are treated that way. So are the insane. I know it. When
I was young and on the sea, a brother-lieutenant went mad.
Sometimes he was violent, and we struggled with him, twisting his
arms, bruising his flesh, tying him helpless while we sat and
panted on him that he might not do harm to us, himself, or the
ship. And he, who still lived, died to us. Don't you understand?
He was no longer of us, like us. He was something other. That is
it--OTHER. And so, in the poor-farm, we, who are yet unburied,
are OTHER. You have heard me chatter about the hell of the
longboat. That is a pleasant diversion in life compared with the
poor-farm. The food, the filth, the abuse, the bullying, the--the
sheer animalness of it!
"For two years I worked for a dollar and a half a week in the
laundry. And imagine me, who had melted a silver spoon in my
mouth--a sizable silver spoon steward--imagine me, my old sore
bones, my old belly reminiscent of youth's delights, my old palate
ticklish yet and not all withered of the deviltries of taste
learned in younger days--as I say, steward, imagine me, who had
ever been free-handed, lavish, saving that dollar and a half
intact like a miser, never spending a penny of it on tobacco,
never mitigating by purchase of any little delicacy the sad
condition of my stomach that protested against the harshness and
indigestibility of our poor fare. I cadged tobacco, poor cheap
tobacco, from poor doddering old chaps trembling on the edge of
dissolution. Ay, and when Samuel Merrivale I found dead in the
morning, next cot to mine, I first rummaged his poor old trousers'
pocket for the half-plug of tobacco I knew was the total estate he
left, then announced the news.
"Oh, steward, I was careful of that dollar and a half. Don't you
see?--I was a prisoner sawing my way out with a tiny steel saw.
And I sawed out!" His voice rose in a shrill cackle of triumph.
"Steward, I sawed out!"
Dag Daughtry held forth and up his beer-bottle as he said gravely
"Sir, I salute you."
"And I thank you, sir--you understand," the Ancient Mariner
replied with simple dignity to the toast, touching his glass to
the bottle and drinking with the steward eyes to eyes.
"I should have had one hundred and fifty-six dollars when I left
the poor-farm," the ancient one continued. "But there were the
two weeks I lost, with influenza, and the one week from a
confounded pleurisy, so that I emerged from that place of the
living dead with but one hundred and fifty-one dollars and fifty
"I see, sir," Daughtry interrupted with honest admiration. "The
tiny saw had become a crow-bar, and with it you were going back to
break into life again."
All the scarred face and washed eyes of Charles Stough Greenleaf
beamed as he held his glass up.
"Steward, I salute you. You understand. And you have said it
well. I was going back to break into the house of life. It was a
crowbar, that pitiful sum of money accumulated by two years of
crucifixion. Think of it! A sum that in the days ere the silver
spoon had melted, I staked in careless moods of an instant on a
turn of the cards. But as you say, a burglar, I came back to
break into life, and I came to Boston. You have a fine turn for a
figure of speech, steward, and I salute you."
Again bottle and glass tinkled together, and both men drank eyes
to eyes and each was aware that the eyes he gazed into were honest
"But it was a thin crow-bar, steward. I dared not put my weight
on it for a proper pry. I took a room in a small but respectable
hotel, European plan. It was in Boston, I think I said. Oh, how
careful I was of my crowbar! I scarcely ate enough to keep my
frame inhabited. But I bought drinks for others, most carefully
selected--bought drinks with an air of prosperity that was as a
credential to my story; and in my cups (my apparent cups,
steward), spun an old man's yarn of the Wide Awake, the longboat,
the bearings unnamable, and the treasure under the sand.--A fathom
under the sand; that was literary; it was psychological; it
smacked of the salt sea, and daring rovers, and the loot of the
"You have noticed this nugget I wear on my watch-chain, steward?
I could not afford it at that time, but I talked golden instead,
California gold, nuggets and nuggets, oodles and oodles, from the
diggings of forty-nine and fifty. That was literary. That was
colour. Later, after my first voyage out of Boston I was
financially able to buy a nugget. It was so much bait to which
men rose like fishes. And like fishes they nibbled. These rings,
also--bait. You never see such rings now. After I got in funds,
I purchased them, too. Take this nugget: I am talking. I toy
with it absently as I am telling of the great gold treasure we
buried under the sand. Suddenly the nugget flashes fresh
recollection into my mind. I speak of the longboat, of our thirst
and hunger, and of the third officer, the fair lad with cheeks
virgin of the razor, and that he it was who used it as a sinker
when we strove to catch fish.
"But back in Boston. Yarns and yarns, when seemingly I was gone
in drink, I told my apparent cronies--men whom I despised, stupid
dolts of creatures that they were. But the word spread, until one
day, a young man, a reporter, tried to interview me about the
treasure and the Wide Awake. I was indignant, angry.--Oh, softly,
steward, softly; in my heart was great joy as I denied that young
reporter, knowing that from my cronies he already had a
sufficiency of the details.
"And the morning paper gave two whole columns and headlines to the
tale. I began to have callers. I studied them out well. Many
were for adventuring after the treasure who themselves had no
money. I baffled and avoided them, and waited on, eating even
less as my little capital dwindled away.
"And then he came, my gay young doctor--doctor of philosophy he
was, for he was very wealthy. My heart sang when I saw him. But
twenty-eight dollars remained to me--after it was gone, the poor-
house, or death. I had already resolved upon death as my choice
rather than go back to be of that dolorous company, the living
dead of the poor-farm. But I did not go back, nor did I die. The
gay young doctor's blood ran warm at thought of the South Seas,
and in his nostrils I distilled all the scents of the flower-
drenched air of that far-off land, and in his eyes I builded him
the fairy visions of the tradewind clouds, the monsoon skies, the
palm isles and the coral seas.
"He was a gay, mad young dog, grandly careless of his largess,
fearless as a lion's whelp, lithe and beautiful as a leopard, and
mad, a trifle mad of the deviltries and whimsies that tickled in
that fine brain of his. Look you, steward. Before we sailed in
the Gloucester fishing-schooner, purchased by the doctor, and that
was like a yacht and showed her heels to most yachts, he had me to
his house to advise about personal equipment. We were overhauling
in a gear-room, when suddenly he spoke:
"'I wonder how my lady will take my long absence. What say you?
Shall she go along?'
"And I had not known that he had any wife or lady. And I looked
my surprise and incredulity.
"'Just that you do not believe I shall take her on the cruise,' he
laughed, wickedly, madly, in my astonished face. 'Come, you shall
"Straight to his bedroom and his bed he led me, and, turning down
the covers, showed there to me, asleep as she had slept for many a
thousand years, the mummy of a slender Egyptian maid.
"And she sailed with us on the long vain voyage to the South Seas
and back again, and, steward, on my honour, I grew quite fond of
the dear maid myself.
The Ancient Mariner gazed dreamily into his glass, and Dag
Daughtry took advantage of the pause to ask:
"But the young doctor? How did he take the failure to find the
The Ancient Mariner's face lighted with joy.
"He called me a delectable old fraud, with his arm on my shoulder
while he did it. Why, steward, I had come to love that young man
like a splendid son. And with his arm on my shoulder, and I know
there was more than mere kindness in it, he told me we had barely
reached the River Plate when he discovered me. With laughter, and
with more than one slap of his hand on my shoulder that was more
caress than jollity, he pointed out the discrepancies in my tale
(which I have since amended, steward, thanks to him, and amended
well), and told me that the voyage had been a grand success,
making him eternally my debtor.
"What could I do? I told him the truth. To him even did I tell
my family name, and the shame I had saved it from by forswearing
"He put his arm on my shoulder, I tell you, and . . . "
The Ancient Mariner ceased talking because of a huskiness in his
throat, and a moisture from his eyes trickled down both cheeks.
Dag Daughtry pledged him silently, and in the draught from his
glass he recovered himself.
"He told me that I should come and live with him, and, to his
great lonely house he took me the very day we landed in Boston.
Also, he told me he would make arrangements with his lawyers--the
idea tickled his fancy--'I shall adopt you,' he said. 'I shall
adopt you along with Isthar'--Isthar was the little maid's name,
the little mummy's name.
"Here was I, back in life, steward, and legally to be adopted.
But life is a fond betrayer. Eighteen hours afterward, in the
morning, we found him dead in his bed, the little mummy maid
beside him. Heart-failure, the burst of some blood-vessel in the
brain--I never learned.
"I prayed and pleaded with them for the pair to be buried
together. But they were a hard, cold, New England lot, his
cousins and his aunts, and they presented Isthar to the museum,
and me they gave a week to be quit of the house. I left in an
hour, and they searched my small baggage before they would let me
"I went to New York. It was the same game there, only that I had
more money and could play it properly. It was the same in New
Orleans, in Galveston. I came to California. This is my fifth
voyage. I had a hard time getting these three interested, and
spent all my little store of money before they signed the
agreement. They were very mean. Advance any money to me! The
very idea of it was preposterous. Though I bided my time, ran up
a comfortable hotel bill, and, at the very last, ordered my own
generous assortment of liquors and cigars and charged the bill to
the schooner. Such a to-do! All three of them raged and all but
tore their hair . . . and mime. They said it could not be. I
fell promptly sick. I told them they got on my nerves and made me
sick. The more they raged, the sicker I got. Then they gave in.
As promptly I grew better. And here we are, out of water and
heading soon most likely for the Marquesas to fill our barrels.
Then they will return and try for it again!"
"You think so, sir?"
"I shall remember even more important data, steward," the Ancient
Mariner smiled. "Without doubt they will return. Oh, I know them
well. They are meagre, narrow, grasping fools."
"Fools! all fools! a ship of fools!" Dag Daughtry exulted;
repeating what he had expressed in the hold, as he bored the last
barrel, listened to the good water gurgling away into the bilge,
and chuckled over his discovery of the Ancient Mariner on the same
lay as his own.
Early next morning, the morning watch of sailors, whose custom was
to fetch the day's supply of water for the galley and cabin,
discovered that the barrels were empty. Mr. Jackson was so
alarmed that he immediately called Captain Doane, and not many
minutes elapsed ere Captain Doane had routed out Grimshaw and
Nishikanta to tell them the disaster.
Breakfast was an excitement shared in peculiarly by the Ancient
Mariner and Dag Daughtry, while the trio of partners raged and
bewailed. Captain Doane particularly wailed. Simon Nishikanta
was fiendish in his descriptions of whatever miscreant had done
the deed and of how he should be made to suffer for it, while
Grimshaw clenched and repeatedly clenched his great hands as if
throttling some throat.
"I remember, it was in forty-seven--nay, forty-six--yes, forty-
six," the Ancient Mariner chattered. "It was a similar and worse
predicament. It was in the longboat, sixteen of us. We ran on
Glister Reef. So named it was after our pretty little craft
discovered it one dark night and left her bones upon it. The reef
is on the Admiralty charts. Captain Doane will verify me . . . "
No one listened, save Dag Daughtry, serving hot cakes and
admiring. But Simon Nishikanta, becoming suddenly aware that the
old man was babbling, bellowed out ferociously:
"Oh, shut up! Close your jaw! You make me tired with your
everlasting 'I remember.'"
The Ancient Mariner was guilelessly surprised, as if he had
slipped somewhere in his narrative.
"No, I assure you," he continued. "It must have been some error
of my poor old tongue. It was not the Wide Awake, but the brig
Glister. Did I say Wide Awake? It was the Glister, a smart
little brig, almost a toy brig in fact, copper-bottomed, lines
like a dolphin, a sea-cutter and a wind-eater. Handled like a
top. On my honour, gentlemen, it was lively work for both watches
when she went about. I was supercargo. We sailed out of New
York, ostensibly for the north-west coast, with sealed orders--"
"In the name of God, peace, peace! You drive me mad with your
drivel!" So Nishikanta cried out in nervous pain that was real
and quivering. "Old man, have a heart. What do I care to know of
your Glister and your sealed orders!"
"Ah, sealed orders," the Ancient Mariner went on beamingly. "A
magic phrase, sealed orders." He rolled it off his tongue with
unction. "Those were the days, gentlemen, when ships did sail
with sealed orders. And as supercargo, with my trifle invested in
the adventure and my share in the gains, I commanded the captain.
Not in him, but in me were reposed the sealed orders. I assure
you I did not know myself what they were. Not until we were
around old Cape Stiff, fifty to fifty, and in fifty in the
Pacific, did I break the seal and learn we were bound for Van
Dieman's Land. They called it Van Dieman's Land in those days . .
It was a day of discoveries. Captain Doane caught the mate
stealing the ship's position from his desk with the duplicate key.
There was a scene, but no more, for the Finn was too huge a man to
invite personal encounter, and Captain Dome could only stigmatize
his conduct to a running reiteration of "Yes, sir," and "No, sir,"
and "Sorry, sir."
Perhaps the most important discovery, although he did not know it
at the time, was that of Dag Daughtry. It was after the course
had been changed and all sail set, and after the Ancient Mariner
had privily informed him that Taiohae, in the Marquesas, was their
objective, that Daughtry gaily proceeded to shave. But one
trouble was on his mind. He was not quite sure, in such an out-
of-the-way place as Taiohae, that good beer could be procured.
As he prepared to make the first stroke of the razor, most of his
face white with lather, he noticed a dark patch of skin on his
forehead just between the eye-brows and above. When he had
finished shaving he touched the dark patch, wondering how he had
been sunburned in such a spot. But he did not know he had touched
it in so far as there was any response of sensation. The dark
place was numb.
"Curious," he thought, wiped his face, and forgot all about it.
No more than he knew what horror that dark spot represented, did
he know that Ah Moy's slant eyes had long since noticed it and
were continuing to notice it, day by day, with secret growing
Close-hauled on the south-east trades, the Mary Turner began her
long slant toward the Marquesas. For'ard, all were happy. Being
only seamen, on seamen's wages, they hailed with delight the news
that they were bound in for a tropic isle to fill their water-
barrels. Aft, the three partners were in bad temper, and
Nishikanta openly sneered at Captain Doane and doubted his ability
to find the Marquesas. In the steerage everybody was happy--Dag
Daughtry because his wages were running on and a further supply of
beer was certain; Kwaque because he was happy whenever his master
was happy; and Ah Moy because he would soon have opportunity to
desert away from the schooner and the two lepers with whom he was
Michael shared in the general happiness of the steerage, and
joined eagerly with Steward in learning by heart a fifth song.
This was "Lead, kindly Light." In his singing, which was no more
than trained howling after all, Michael sought for something he
knew not what. In truth, it was the LOST PACK, the pack of the
primeval world before the dog ever came in to the fires of men,
and, for that matter, before men built fires and before men were
He had been born only the other day and had lived but two years in
the world, so that, of himself, he had no knowledge of the lost
pack. For many thousands of generations he had been away from it;
yet, deep down in the crypts of being, tied about and wrapped up
in every muscle and nerve of him, was the indelible record of the
days in the wild when dim ancestors had run with the pack and at
the same time developed the pack and themselves. When Michael was
asleep, then it was that pack-memories sometimes arose to the
surface of his subconscious mind. These dreams were real while
they lasted, but when he was awake he remembered them little if at
all. But asleep, or singing with Steward, he sensed and yearned
for the lost pack and was impelled to seek the forgotten way to
Waking, Michael had another and real pack. This was composed of
Steward, Kwaque, Cocky, and Scraps, and he ran with it as ancient
forbears had ran with their own kind in the hunting. The steerage
was the lair of this pack, and, out of the steerage, it ranged the
whole world, which was the Mary Turner ever rocking, heeling,
reeling on the surface of the unstable sea.
But the steerage and its company meant more to Michael than the
mere pack. It was heaven as well, where dwelt God. Man early
invented God, often of stone, or clod, or fire, and placed him in
trees and mountains and among the stars. This was because man
observed that man passed and was lost out of the tribe, or family,
or whatever name he gave to his group, which was, after all, the
human pack. And man did not want to be lost out of the pack. So,
of his imagination, he devised a new pack that would be eternal
and with which he might for ever run. Fearing the dark, into
which he observed all men passed, he built beyond the dark a
fairer region, a happier hunting-ground, a jollier and robuster
feasting-hall and wassailing-place, and called it variously
Like some of the earliest and lowest of primitive men, Michael
never dreamed of throwing the shadow of himself across his mind
and worshipping it as God. He did not worship shadows. He
worshipped a real and indubitable god, not fashioned in his own
four-legged, hair-covered image, but in the flesh-and-blood image,
two-legged, hairless, upstanding, of Steward.
Had the trade wind not failed on the second day after laying the
course for the Marquesas; had Captain Doane, at the mid-day meal,
not grumbled once again at being equipped with only one
chronometer; had Simon Nishikanta not become viciously angry
thereat and gone on deck with his rifle to find some sea-denizen
to kill; and had the sea-denizen that appeared close alongside
been a bonita, a dolphin, a porpoise, an albacore, or anything
else than a great, eighty-foot cow whale accompanied by her
nursing calf--had any link been missing from this chain of events,
the Mary Turner would have undoubtedly reached the Marquesas,
filled her water-barrels, and returned to the treasure-hunting;
and the destinies of Michael, Daughtry, Kwaque, and Cocky would
have been quite different and possibly less terrible.
But every link was present for the occasion. The schooner, in a
dead calm, was rolling over the huge, smooth seas, her boom sheets
and tackles crashing to the hollow thunder of her great sails,
when Simon Nishikanta put a bullet into the body of the little
whale calf. By an almost miracle of chance, the shot killed the
calf. It was equivalent to killing an elephant with a pea-rifle.
Not at once did the calf die. It merely immediately ceased its
gambols and for a while lay quivering on the surface of the ocean.
The mother was beside it the moment after it was struck, and to
those on board, looking almost directly down upon her, her dismay
and alarm were very patent. She would nudge the calf with her
huge shoulder, circle around and around it, then range up
alongside and repeat her nudgings and shoulderings.
All on the Mary Turner, fore and aft, lined the rail and stared
down apprehensively at the leviathan that was as long as the
"If she should do to us, sir, what that other one did to the
Essex," Dag Daughtry observed to the Ancient Mariner.
"It would be no more than we deserve," was the response. "It was
uncalled-for--a wanton, cruel act."
Michael, aware of the excitement overside but unable to see
because of the rail, leaped on top of the cabin and at sight of
the monster barked defiantly. Every eye turned on him in
startlement and fear, and Steward hushed him with a whispered
"This is the last time," Grimshaw muttered in a low voice, tense
with anger, to Nishikanta. "If ever again, on this voyage, you
take a shot at a whale, I'll wring your dirty neck for you. Get
me. I mean it. I'll choke your eye-balls out of you."
The Jew smiled in a sickly way and whined, "There ain't nothing
going to happen. I don't believe that Essex ever was sunk by a
Urged on by its mother, the dying calf made spasmodic efforts to
swim that were futile and caused it to veer and wallow from side
In the course of circling about it, the mother accidentally
brushed her shoulder under the port quarter of the Mary Turner,
and the Mary Turner listed to starboard as her stern was lifted a
yard or more. Nor was this unintentional, gentle impact all. The
instant after her shoulder had touched, startled by the contact,
she flailed out with her tail. The blow smote the rail just
for'ard of the fore-shrouds, splintering a gap through it as if it
were no more than a cigar-box and cracking the covering board.
That was all, and an entire ship's company stared down in silence
and fear at a sea-monster grief-stricken over its dying progeny.
Several times, in the course of an hour, during which the schooner
and the two whales drifted farther and farther apart, the calf
strove vainly to swim. Then it set up a great quivering, which
culminated in a wild wallowing and lashing about of its tail.
"It is the death-flurry," said the Ancient Mariner softly.
"By damn, it's dead," was Captain Doane's comment five minutes
later. "Who'd believe it? A rifle bullet! I wish to heaven we
could get half an hour's breeze of wind to get us out of this
"A close squeak," said Grimshaw,
Captain Doane shook his head, as his anxious eyes cast aloft to
the empty canvas and quested on over the sea in the hope of wind-
ruffles on the water. But all was glassy calm, each great sea, of
all the orderly procession of great seas, heaving up, round-topped
and mountainous, like so much quicksilver.
"It's all right," Grimahaw encouraged. "There she goes now,
beating it away from us."
"Of course it's all right, always was all right," Nishikanta
bragged, as he wiped the sweat from his face and neck and looked
with the others after the departing whale. "You're a fine brave
lot, you are, losing your goat to a fish."
"I noticed your face was less yellow than usual," Grimshaw
sneered. "It must have gone to your heart."
Captain Doane breathed a great sigh. His relief was too strong to
permit him to join in the squabbling.
"You're yellow," Grimshaw went on, "yellow clean through." He
nodded his head toward the Ancient Mariner. "Now there's the real
thing as a man. No yellow in him. He never batted an eye, and I
reckon he knew more about the danger than you did. If I was to
choose being wrecked on a desert island with him or you, I'd take
him a thousand times first. If--"
But a cry from the sailors interrupted him.